We're Getting a Skunk!

We’re Getting a Skunk! Yes, It’s True!

We’re Getting a Skunk!

Written by: C.J. Wilson

After watching an old episode of “Nature” on PBS the other day, my budding zoologist daughter unequivocally announced that we are getting a skunk for a pet.

We're Getting a Skunk!

A consummate animal activist, she’s always been categorically engaged in the protection of all living creatures, carefully containing and releasing errant spiders when the other kids reel away in an arachnophobic panic. She has big plans to maintain an exotic animal sanctuary someday, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when she settled on Mephitis mephitis (the striped skunk) for the newest addition to our growing animal family. I’m always willing to embark on a wild adventure with her, so we quickly launched into our skunk intelligence gathering.

Skunks have a bad rap for obvious malodorous reasons and, apart from the dread of the stink from their anal scent glands, many people needlessly fear contracting rabies from them. Receiving rabies from skunks is in fact extremely rare, and they only spray as a last resort when threatened or defending their young kits. Very few humans are directly targeted from the skunk’s spray. Even so, all but 18 states in the US have banned skunks as pets.

Skunks are naturally very clean, instinctively “corner (potty) trained” and actually have a fairly pleasant natural body odor. They are benign, intelligent and playfully curious animals and most certainly make more affectionate companions than our grumpy and aloof rescue attack cat, Becky (aka Bitch Kitty).

Even though they mostly roam about solitary at night in the wild, skunks can be social creatures and generally get along well with other adapted pets. But they are special needs pets and require a lot of care and attention in domesticity, especially in their first eight weeks to adulthood. They must be disciplined with patience and can’t be contained in cages. They love to climb, especially as young kits, and can open cabinets and even refrigerator doors, so it’s absolutely necessary to skunk-proof the home. Skunks have a keen sense of hearing and smell but they have poor eyesight and lack a homing instinct, so it’s best to housebreak them and keep them indoors. One could build a relatively inexpensive electric fence around the perimeter of the property or garden as skunks love to dig and forage for food and have varied diets and voracious appetites but, much like our lively English Lab Molly, they are rarely satiated.

The American Domestic Skunk Association and Skunk Haven are good informational resources, but many websites give out conflicting advice on skunk care facts. All agree that dealing with veterinary treatment is particularly challenging due to the lack of specific knowledge about skunk health that most vets have access to. It is crucial to purchase a skunk from a reputable and knowledgeable breeder and ensure that a vet is secured with more than adequate experience treating skunks. Most skunks are descented as baby kits, but more and more vets and skunk owners are recommending against it. That’s not really for us. Our family is going to side squarely with the descenting group!

The 14th annual Skunk Fest is held a short distance from Cleveland, Ohio this September. Ohio has a large striped skunk population and accompanying skunk enthusiasts, so this is where we plan to start our search for our new omnivorous pal. We’ve decided on a name (Napoleon) and have a trusted vet in place. We are spending this summer child-proofing locks and installing an electric fence. I’m not sure how Becky and Molly will adjust to the new addition, and I’m betting there will be a few raised eyebrows in the neighborhood, but our family could not be more excited to begin our fun and funky skunk quest. We are determined to bring about a heightened awareness for our striking and misunderstood furry friends.

Yes, we are getting a skunk!

Guest Writer Bio : Clinton (C.J.) Wilson Guest Writer Bio : Clinton (C.J.) Wilson has written for Just Out Newsmagazine and Black Lamb in Portland, Oregon, PragueOne in the Czech Republic, and for Penguin Group in New York City.  You can find Clinton on Facebook and Twitter.

More resources:

http://www.skunk-info.org/lists/lists.htm

http://www.skunk-info.org/petcare/petcare.htm

http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/skunks/a/skunksaspets.htm

http://skunkvetcare.org/

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Getting a Skunk 3

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A QUESTION FOR YOU:

Do you have exotic pets at home?  Tell us in the comments below.

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Jeannie Melanson, Animal Bliss Blog
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18 thoughts on “We’re Getting a Skunk! Yes, It’s True!

    • Hey, C.J.! There you are! I’ll bet you can’t wait to get the skunk. When will that be? The SkunkFest should be fun. Do they have skunk races? Goats are fun too. They like naughty children. I had 13 of them at one time – milked twice a day. No vacations for me. Yes, keep us posted! Let me know if you have another guest post you’d like to write for us. Thanks for the “Goats Gone Wild” link. I’ll go check it out right now. Peace! 🙂

    • I never would have guessed either, Angelica. lol It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall. Hey, thanks for stopping by! I’m going to go check outyour Grilled Stone Fruit Salad with Toasted Almonds now. Yum! 🙂

  1. I would LOVE to have a pet skunk! How much fun. There’s a really cute children’s movie where they have a pet skunk…but darn if I can’t remember the name right now. Good luck on your new adventure into exotic pets!

    • Actually, it’s not my new adventure, but my guest blogger’s adventure. I hope he’ll keep us posted on how it goes with his new pet skunk. He’s talking about getting some pygmy goats too! Whee! I’ve had goats in the past. They’re so much fun. I’m glad for your visit, Kama. I appreciate it. 🙂

  2. Skunks are great! Okay, I’ve never actually met one BUT… But my late Auntie Primrose used to know one when she was quite young herself. Before I was born. Peeps tell me they were best of friends. She would spend the afternoons under the garden shed with Skunky. (Yeah, I have super creative peeps, I know. MOUSES!) Goodness knows WHAT they were doing under there. Probably just napping, I think.

    Purrs,
    Seville

    • Hey, Seville. I’m so happy that you’re visiting my blog today! I visited yours the other day and had quite a few chuckles! You’re so funny! Quite a-mew-zing, actually. Get it? A-meww-zing? Ok, so that flopped. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the story of your Auntie Primrose and Skunky. Wow, what a name! “Primrose,” I mean! Mouses! Anyway, come back and visit again, okay! My dog Jake says, “woof,” and my bearded dragon says … well she doesn’t say anything. She’s pretty quiet. I did hear her hiss once. See? You have something in common. Bye-bye!

    • Bonjour, Daisy the French Bulldog. The skunk should be fun. I’m hoping the guest blogger who wrote this article will share his adventures with us. 🙂 He tells me that his family may also get some pygmy goats. I hope he shares them with us too. Thank you so much for visiting my blog today! I think maybe this was your first time. Don’t be a stranger now! Au revoir, ma cher Daisy! 🙂

  3. Skunks are pretty awesome; though I don’t think I’ll ever own one myself. I read an article the other day that made me laugh – it mentioned that dogs (for whatever reason) aren’t receptive to a skunks signals (hissing, etc) which is somewhat puzzling. I guess it must be something they lost in their domestication.
    Jen Gabbard recently posted…Holy Cow – It’s Our One Year BlogiversaryMy Profile

    • Hi Jen. I’m glad you stopped by! I think skunks are cool too. I’ve never owned one, personally, but that’s not to say I never would. I’ve had raccoons and possum, after all. lol I’m hoping our guest writer keep us in the loop with his new skunk. 🙂 Yes, it does seem that some dogs just don’t have it together when it comes to the skunk. Of all the years I’ve had dogs, we’ve only ever had one run-in with a skunk. Porcupines, however, is another story …. Take care, Jen. Come back soon. Peace

    • Thanks for stopping by, Robin. Yes, skunks really are cool. I knew a man who had quite a few of them once. He used to share popcorn with them while watching movies in his living room. It was the funniest sight to see. lol They do make a nice pet. I hope our guest blogger that wrote this post will keep us informed. 🙂

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